Do you have Time Management Skills?

It has been a very busy week, and I got the inspiration to write today’s blog post when I realized very late last night that I am not managing or balancing my time effectively at all (hence no blog post on Wednesday). With a husband, three children, a revolving door of houseguests and a freelance career I do not have enough hours in the day right now. Last week I asked, “Where did the Evening Go,” and this week I am asking another question about time management.

I remember when I got my first “real” job, when I was 24 years old and fresh out of graduate school. I was hired as a radio producer at an all-sports radio station. David and I had recently moved to Toronto from New York, secured a great condo in the heart of the city and by luck my job was a 2-minute walk from my front door.

I worked odd hours, with shifts often in the evenings and weekends or I filled in for the morning show or afternoon show. When I wasn’t at work, my free time was mine. Our apartment was easy to maintain and clean, grocery shopping and cooking were quick and easy and we had quite a bit of disposable income. I sometimes wondered what I would do with all my free time.

In the coming years, I secured increasingly senior jobs, bought a house and had children.  As my free time vanished and the extra cash in my bank account was depleted by my growing family I realized I had to learn some time management skills and find a way to balance my life.

Of course, life balance and time management are two different things, and today I will just focus on time. Oh time, something I just don’t have.

Who decided to put 24 hours in a day? And why only 7 days in a week? Would I manage my time better if I had, say, 26 hours every day and one extra day each week? Okay, I know I’m being silly and I am sure some rather intelligent and sophisticated people did scientific calculations to determine seconds, hours, minutes, days and weeks. Okay, so I can’t change that.

Should I sleep more? Or should I sleep less? Should I actually schedule every minute of my day so that I don’t spend too much time on any given task? Maybe I am spending too much time on some things, like grocery shopping and cooking, and not enough time doing other things, like playing with my children or (gasp!) exercising.

Because I am a freelancer now, or to make it more professional sounding, I am the sole proprietor of a business, I need to have a lot of self-discipline to ensure I secure work and then actually complete the work in a timely fashion. My hours are my own and my office is my house. And those work hours have to fit in and around my long list of other responsibilities. Some of those include caring for my children, chauffeuring my children to school, camp and activities, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. And sometimes, if I can manage it, I allow some time for myself. It all comes back to time management.

I am overwhelmed, as I believe are many other women who have a young family and a career. We represent a large percentage of the population, and no matter how proud we are of our children and how successful we are in our careers we have tremendous challenges when it comes to time management.

I welcome your comments your thoughts here, on Facebook or on Twitter. How do you manage your time? Let’s get the conversation started.

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